Sucker Punch Lives Up To Its Name
By Chauncey Telese
Hi everybody (Hi Dr. Nick), I hope everyone is enjoying the duck weather we’ve been experiencing lately (at night it’s soothing but driving in it kind of sucks right?). The time is 2:43 a.m. and tonight’s ‘keep me awake’ album is The Pixies “Wave of Mutilation Greatest Hits.”
Anyway, it’s been another interesting week in the world hasn’t it? House is now in a green card marriage to get back at Cuddy and Thirteen comes back in three weeks. The Pawnee Harvest Festival was a success in spite of the Indian curses and temporarily losing Lil’ Sebastian. Michael Scott proposed to Holly and she of course said yes and Michael announced he’s leaving. Pee Wee Herman’s ‘Live on Broadway’ show was as amazing as I expected (possible comeback player of the year candidate). Hank Moody was found guilty and is awaiting sentencing and the Gallaghers are still dysfunctional.
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“Lights Out” got cancelled, which is a major bummer as that show had a ton of potential. R.I.P Elizabeth Taylor, in a way she was the last true movie star and while she’s had such classics as “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” I will always remember her as Wilma’s mother-in-law in “The Flintstones.” (and I forgot to mention last week R.I.P. Nate Dogg Till I Collapse I won’t see you til the next episode).
After attending the Kings-Flames game on Monday I rediscovered my love of hockey and realized that I’ll be okay during the NBA and NFL lockouts. Duke got bounced like Dez Bryant from a Dallas mall , Chris Brown got angry (no shocker there, but good-bye comeback), all is right in Laker Land (especially after that awesome 3OT game), and after a week of writing papers and editing projects, I’m finally done with Winter Quarter and get a week off before Spring Quarter. WOO HOO!
Whew, alright well, to celebrate my week off from caring about acting, plot, narrative, theme, and logic, I went to the midnight showing of Zack Snyder’s first original movie “Sucker Punch.” I went with my buddy Justin and he agreed with me that it was like getting sucker punched in that you’re in shock, you get hopped up on adrenaline, and once it’s worn off, you become angry and confused. Harsh? Perhaps.
I’m seeing it again with my friend Andrew because he couldn’t make it tonight and frankly I’m curious to see what he thinks. He loves trippy movies, so who knows maybe Justin and I missed something. I doubt it though, because while visually, yeah this movie’s trippy and well done, but as the guy in front of us said upon leaving the theater “WHAT THE F***?”
This movie had a ton of potential, really it did but my God what a mess. I give Zack Snyder credit for unleashing all of his ideas at once before he adapts someone else’s work when he begins production on “Superman: Man of Steel,” but I don’t think anyone bothered to call him out on his lack of a coherent story. I’ll save those complaints and grievances for later let’s just start with the plot summary shall we?
Okay, “Sucker Punch” starts with Baby Doll (Emily Browning) a 20-year-old-girl whose mother has died and in trying to protect her little sister from her evil stepdad, accidentally kills her sister. Her stepdad has her committed to a less-then-reputable asylum run by Dr. Vera Gorski (Carla Gugino) and a corrupt orderly named Blue (Issac Jones). The asylum has a room called the theater where patients are encouraged to work out their issues on stage, and that is where she meets Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish), her little sister Rocket (Jena Malone), Amber (Jamie Chung), and Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens).
It is also here where she learns she will be given a lobotomy and not the teenage kind but the kind that makes you a vegetable. Baby Doll realizes that she and the rest of the girls need to get out of there before the High Roller (an underutilized Jon Hamm) lobotomizes her. This is where the movie gets weird because once she gets this information, we enter three different realities. There is actual reality, then there is the reality where Baby Doll imagines the asylum as sort of a “Moulin Rouge” type of establishment, and then the third reality via Baby Doll’s alleged hypnotic dance (we never see it) in which Baby Doll and the rest of the girls contend with dragons, dead Nazi soldiers, gothic Samurai, and other supernatural opponents all with the guidance of the Wiseman (Scott Glenn). If you’re scratching your head confused, that’s okay, just try and imagine this third world as a video game and you’ll be fine.
Normally, I wouldn’t care if liberties are taken with reality and logic. Believe me, I wasn’t expecting much with this one, I figured it would be a fun movie where hot chicks blow stuff up while not wearing much. To a degree, it accomplishes that, however, in this case I’m not impressed because it never adds up to anything. Should I be surprised? Yeah, actually because Zack Snyder is so much better than this because he managed to successfully remake “Dawn of the Dead,” did a great job with “300” and adapted “Watchmen” (the first movie I reviewed here actually) as good as anyone was ever going to do (by the way it’s Justin’s favorite movie).
The man knows how to use visuals to weave a coherent enough story. I understand he’s trying to be experimental, but when you get to the end of this journey you have absolutely no idea why you went on this adventure in the first place and you’re final destination isn’t worth the trouble. This movie is basically the embodiment of that Sprite commercial where the guys are sitting on a studio lot trying to come up with ideas and then the one guy chugs a Sprite. Then in the sky a cheerleader falls out of a plane and there are ninjas, a panda, and other random stuff and they all land in the guy’s head and he’s like “I got it! We open on a cheerleader…”.
Visually I’m not complaining because Snyder’s imagination is on Charlie Sheen, but it amounts to nothing. After the first entry into this third reality where Baby Doll fights the gothic samurai Justin tapped me on the shoulder saying “This is a pretty cool movie” however, he would later tell me that he bailed on it like ten minutes after. The audience felt the same way as the dialogue and everything else got more ludicrous and, as I’ve said many times now, not in the good way.
The movie creates an interesting ’30s-’40s era vibe and though the songs are modern, they are remixed (I didn’t mind that actually) and it kind of works. The credits show bits and pieces of musical numbers cut from the film that looked kind of neat. I am dying to know how they fit in (seriously I was) and why they were left out. The blurbs that have been running on TV have called it “Kill Bill” meets “Inception” but the difference between those two and this is that the previous two actually had a purpose for everything they do.
Oh well, I guess this will do really well opening weekend and then drop significantly once word of mouth spreads so the universe will balance itself out. Justin and I didn’t necessarily leave angry like the rest of the audience did but we were both massively disappointed because as he put it “They put all of the good stuff in the preview” which they did. The guy next to us was seeing it “enhanced” and even he couldn’t enjoy it so good luck to the rest of you. On the positive side of things we did get a really cool new trailer for “Captain America: The First Avenger” so that’s something right? Oh, well it’s 3:35 a.m. and now I must sleep.
The only other alternatives I can offer you are “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules” and HBO’s miniseries “Mildred Pierce” starring Kate Winslet and Evan Rachel Wood on Sunday. On Showtime, “Californication” and “Shameless” air their season finales. Also on Monday the third seasons of “Nurse Jackie” and “The United States of Tara” premiere on Showtime.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned as I bring you a triple feature next week. I finally get a “Win Win” with Paul Giamatti; Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page and I get “Super” and Jake Gyllenhall gives me “The Source Code.”
Remember you can see these and other fine films at your local Edwards.